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Submitted on
August 16, 2012


25 (who?)
It's a well-known fact that people with lower income levels in the West generally have a poor diet. That is one of the major factors which determines their lower life expectancy, and poorer general health. The big question for me is 'why'?

I am a cheapskate, and often times enjoy eating cheap food. I am also a health and fitness nut, so the food I eat must be healthy. I have a genetic predisposition to being overweight, but I have around 6% body fat due to my diet and exercise routine. For reference, my deviant ID below is probably just over 10% body fat. I am also lazy, so cooking for a long time is out of the question. Turns out that all of these conditions are easily satisfied.

Let's suppose you are poor and you have a minimum wage job. I'll give you a brief outline about how to feed yourself for ~$10 for a whole day with just about the healthiest food you can eat for ANY amount of money. That's right, you can eat better than your neighbor making over a hundred grand.

Here are just some possible ingredients. Cartonized egg whites, fresh and frozen vegies (broccoli, green beans, carrots, pepper, tomatoes, dill, cucumbers, etc), fruits (apples, oranges, bananas, etc), possibly a generic low sugar and high fiber cereal, low-fat milk, grains like rice or corn and potatoes or pasta, beans or chickpeas, and chicken breast and canned tuna, some olive oil, some nuts for snacks, perhaps some whole grain bread.

If you go to a couple of good stores say Costco for non-perishables, and a good local grocery store for the produce and buy $70 worth of this stuff, it will feed you for a week EASILY.

Stir frying vegies with egg whites takes 5 minutes. So does a salad from fresh vegies with chickpeas or beans. Boil rice, potatoes, or pasta once in a few days and have it in the fridge whenever you need it. Frying or grilling chicken breast is just about the easiest thing. Opening a can of tuna or other fish is self-explanatory.

Forego 95% of the stuff the military industrial complex wants to sell you at the store with flashy ads. Check it out, your life expectancy just went up 5-10 years, and the amount of money you spend on food has just decreased threefold. You may or may not know this, but life expectancy and health are determined 90% by lifestyle choices and diet, and 10% by the health care you receive. So, if you can't afford health care, you've got one area where huge improvements can be made relatively easily.

Why do poor people eat shitty food? It's not because of the money. I can eat for a day for the same price you will eat at McDonalds once. It's not because of the time, since I can prepare all my meals in a 1/2 hour while also watching something on Youtube.

If you are poor and you eat shit, I want to know why. Speak out, I know you're out there.
  • Reading: 50 psychology classics
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WilliamRawrs Aug 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
LMAO "If you are poor and you eat shit, I want to know why. Speak out, I know you're out there."
Why are you so funny!? :'3 I eat just like this by the way. xD
DeadDollsSociety Aug 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I eat at McDonald's like once in three months, way too expensive compared to how well the meals keep hunger at bay - or rather, how well they do not at all do that. If someone's excuse at eating at McDonald's is that food is too expensive, they've never set a food in a grocery store. With the six dollars spent for a meal there, you can buy food for two days.
melly4260 Aug 17, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
$10 for a day is too much..I have spent the last 2 years supporting a family of 3 (which includes one RAVENOUS teenage boy)
I make $12,000 a year and was receiving $198 a month in foodstamps. My family has shrunk to two, so they cut me down to $129...I also got some food from the food bank, which is basically canned goods, pasta, instant potatoes & rice...I do not have subsidized housing, my car is paid for, tho I have insurance, my cell costs around $12 a month, and I pay for utilities come in my rental deal (I live where I work, so my rent is half what most would pay) we eat reasonably well, breakfast is cereal or eggs & grits (grits are cheap), sometimes biscuits & gravy (also cheap), lunch is sandwich or salad (not so cheap), and dinner is a meat, a starch & a veggie-no salad, too expensive to eat it more than once every few days...we aren't fat, my cholesterol is only a bit high (not dangerously so) so I'm pretty sure I have us well-balanced in the food dept...fresh veggies are rather expensive here too, an avocado is also about a dollar apiece, a head of lettuce (small) is over a dollar, potatoes are cheap, apples around 79c a pound, cherries, any kind of berry, melons, are all pricey...bananas are around 69c a pound, and I do buy them...twice a month...about 6 of them each time...we live an hours drive from the store, and an hour back...I buy my meats on sale, get donations of elk and deer meat from neighbors, and I hope to get my own deer this fall, tho I think that they may not allow hunting because of this forest fire burning around us...and even then, I must pay to have it processed properly, tho I can get that for around $100...
The mentality of the chronically and desperately poor is this...there are so few pleasures in the struggle of life, that food is a great comfort...the box of 12 donuts for $2.49...or the head of lettuce and ONE tomato-no dressing, cuz it would cost too much? Hmmmm....satisfied with the yummy sweet, or tummy growling in an hour cuz the salad wasn't filling enough? How about 10 dollars a day will buy that box of donuts, a 12pack of soda, a BIG bag of no-name chips, and voila' for TWO days...and no where near as bland as dried up egg whites...(that's just nasty) actually, so is the box of donuts & a soda...LoL
I guess what I'm saying is that it's a cultural thing...culture of the poor so to speak...I grew up poor, but with a mother who said "just because we are poor, doesn't mean we have to act like it."
IvanAndreevich Aug 19, 2012  Professional Photographer
If you don't mind me asking, how come your income is so ridiculously low?
melly4260 Aug 20, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Ridiculously low? Hmmm...Perhaps because I am a resident manager at a small motel that relies on seasonal tourists to fill it's beds...even though I am on call 24hrs a day, all year, I actually only physically work "part time"...and since it is in the woods, 50 miles from the nearest town-there are no other jobs to fill in the I manage with what I quality of life is very good...better than most, I am very blessed & grateful to have what I DO have... :)
TwistedSynapses Aug 17, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I was addicted to it plain and simple.

It's not okay to eat this stuff, but instinct makes us want it. Using words like "filling" or "quantity" sum up the false appeal. It's easy to sell something greasy and salty with a carbonated sugar drink chaser.

I've been poor, extremely so. I hope that nobody thinks I'm condescending, insensitive, or ignorant, because I spent a good deal of my life there. There is no excuse for doing that to yourself. You've got to figure something out if you're in that habit. You're literally killing yourself. Your health should come before any other considerations because everything else depends on your health.
8AlnitakKaleids8 Aug 17, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Good question! Why do poor people eat unhealthy food? There are many reasons, of course. I think one factor may be their environment. If they live in a low income area, stores nearby usually stock a lot of junk food that is cheap to purchase. Also, poor people may not have a good education so they may not be aware of the fact that life expectancy is linked to a poor diet. Another possibility is that poor people rely on just what money or resources they come across or happen to get FOR THAT DAY. If they only have 5 dollars to spend they reach for what it cheapest and sometimes, depending on environment, distance to food source, etc., good, nutrional fruit, veggies, meat, etc. is not easily accessible. In addition, hwo does one classify "poor"? The extremely poor may not even have money to pay a gas bill so COOKING meals may be out of the question. I read about a theory on the high percentage of prisoners who ate a high amount of canned foods, which the researcher believes had contributed to an incrase in crime due to the low levels of vitamin K (I believe it was k) in their diet. There are many other factors that contribute to the choices a poor person makes for eating unhealthy. I really enjoyed reading your journals because you bring up some very interesting questions. Also, do consider posting some of your healthy recipes...I'm always on the lookout for easy, healthy, good price! Thanks!
ALynnL Aug 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I don't really know why I go for the junk food, I guess it's because I'm not aware of the other choices. And since I take public transportation almost everywhere, I'm not really home all that often when I go to school, look for work, or any other business I have to take care of.

When most of my time is spent away from home, I can't exactly sit down and cook.

And when I am home, I get extremely lax, and I just put together what's in the fridge or on the countertops. I think "as long as I have 3 meals a day, I'm fine".

Another thing (that is a trap, I realize) is this idea of "well, I've saved a lot of money, so just eating out once ain't going to hurt my bank." But then I think that every time I go away from home, and those "little amounts" add up. It really is more expensive to even have McDonalds rather than just holding out and going home.

But I think the problem (at least in America) is with all the flashy billboards, signs, ads, etc. They get our attention. They make us want that junk food, even if we're not aware of what hazards it could give us.

I really hope all this made sense. It seems like a bunch of jumbled thoughts to me, but I'm trying to write out what I think on the subject.
IvanAndreevich Aug 17, 2012  Professional Photographer
It makes sense. It's hard to prepare food for when you are away from home, and advertising is a problem.
shadothezombie Aug 17, 2012   Digital Artist
Word Ivan! It really is like you say it is, but we all know that people will always come up with ridiculous excuses to clear their conscience. In the recent years there is a tendency here is Western Europe (it's another story if Europe really want Bulgaria to be part of it, lol) to split the vegetables on regular ones and Bio-vegetables and fruits.
Its like 1kilo of normal tomatoes (chemically growth induced) is around 1 euro, where 1kilo of Bio-tomatoes is three or four times more. And it the same with all vegetables and fruits.

When I get tired of the "civilization", I will get a nice little house in the woods and will grow everything I can and raise my own cattle.
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